Reading an article this morning by ANSAmed, “Tunisia: Crossroads of fanatical preachers and jihadists“, on the influx of Muslim hate preachers since the fall of former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in last year’s “Arab Spring”, I noted the ending paragraph:
In a country that is debating its profile (Islamic or Arabic), the preachers find all too fertile soil in the absence of a response from the state, also urged by the leader of Ennahdha, Rashid Ghannouchi. Too many threats receive no response from the institutions: on Sunday a sheikh called Tunisians prepare to kill the Jews and on the same occasion a preacher wished the death (he later explained that he was speaking in political terms) of former premier Beji Caid Essebsi. And the air is still filled with the insane propositions of an Egyptian Wahhabi preacher, Wagdi Ghoneim, who came to Tunisia to say, before frenzied crowds, that female genital mutilation is not only imposed by the Koran, but are longed for because they are cosmetic surgery operations.
Hey, isn’t Wagdi Ghoneim the top US muslim cleric that fled the US in December 2004 rather than be deported? Why, yes, it is.
Here’s what Immigrations and Customs Enforcement had to say on his departure:
The government alleges that Ghoneim, who came to the U.S. in 2001 from Egypt, participated in fundraising activities around the country that could have helped terrorist organizations, said Bill Odencrantz, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement director of field legal operations.
Ghoneim has not been charged with terrorist activity, however. Instead, he was arrested at his Anaheim home Nov. 4 on suspicion of overstaying his religious-worker visa. He was charged with the immigration violation, Odencrantz said, “because it was the easiest charge to prove.”
“Frankly, our task is not to sit around and wait for people to blow up buildings,” Odencrantz said. “Our task is to look at situations and circumstances and take action against people.”
As the late Billy Mays would say, “but wait, there’s more!”
After the hearing, Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, criticized the government’s aggressive pursuit of the imam.
Ghoneim’s case is part of a disturbing trend, which Ayloush described as “the selective application of laws on Muslims, especially on minor violations; the targeting of Muslim travelers at airports; the revoking of visas of Muslim visitors coming to the United States.”